Pilot Point residents came together Tuesday evening to celebrate National Night Out.
It is an evening that promotes positive relationships within the community, specifically between residents and local law enforcement. It was a night of games, camaraderie, hamburgers and sweat as locals celebrated together in the twilight of a humid October night.
“This community cares for one another,” resident Lucia Rodela said. “This is important because we want to keep Pilot Point the way it is. Small and clean and nice.”
National Night Out is traditionally held on the first Tuesday in August. In 2008, the National Association of Town Watch announced that Texas would celebrate the event in October instead, in hopes of combating high temperatures and attracting more people. Windless humidity mixed with grill smoke and crowds still made for a warm evening Tuesday, but the heat didn’t put a damper on the fun.
Friendly banter filled The Square as neighbors came together to share a meal and a laugh. Rodela spent part of the night chatting and battling creepy-crawlers near the gazebo with friends Peggy Allen and Wynona Adcock. The mosquitos kept them smiling.
“There’s one on your forehead!” Rodela said to Allen, swatting near her face.
“I didn’t put any OFF on there,” Allen said, grabbing the insect repellant from Rodela and squirting it directly onto her forehead.
The move was met with uproarious laughter from all parties.
Across the way, the meal prep team was also having a comedically rough time. Dripping in sweat from the heat and smoke, Sarah Cotham and Lenette Cox worked tirelessly alongside Officer Chase Raines and Capt. Brad Bell to make hamburgers and hotdogs for the ever-present, increasingly hungry crowd.
“I’ve had nightmares about this exact situation,” Officer Raines said, looking frantically for a hamburger bun. “I’ve dreamt that this is how I die.”
The team worked the entire night to make sure everyone would have something to eat free of charge. They sweated so much, they joked, that they lost about 10 pounds each. Ultimately, all four survived the ordeal.
After collecting a free burger, residents could partake in one of a few games and activities set up around the square, such as applejack crafts, Bible giveaways and prize drawings.
One of the most popular events of the evening was the honorary firefighter certification. A line wrapped around the firetruck, full of eager kids looking for a chance to prove themselves by completing a series of challenges and obstacles. The obstacles included carrying rope, using a mallet to hammer wood and handling the fire hose.
“My favorite part was definitely the water hose,” said honorary firefighter Grayson Brown upon earning his badge. “It was fun to try to aim it, and it wasn’t that hard.”
The festivities began at 6 p.m. and wrapped up several hours later, long after the sun had gone down and the grill had cooled. The ultimate goal of participating in National Night Out is to engage and build the community, to promote positive police-community partnerships, and to encourage neighborhood camaraderie.
“Ultimately, I come to thank all who serve,” Allen said. “It’s so important just to come out and promote the bond.”